Lee Kem, Advising Education Majors Commission Chair
Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz, was transported from her beloved Kansas to a foreign land where she met several strange characters including the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow. As academic advisors, we may sometimes think that we have been transported to a foreign land filled with some equally unique characters. However, even in 'Kansas,' change occurs, and we may find ourselves required to navigate a new 'Land Of Oz.' What can we learn from Dorothy and her three companions? Four questions will help us discover direction in our journey.
What has changed? When in a 'foreign land,' we may want to get 'back home' to the familiar. But, sometimes this just isn't possible; things may never be the same. In advising, we are conditioned to hear, assess, and categorize information and situations into familiar areas. However, our students may be different, our administration may change, and institutional requirements may no longer be the same. Yet, we may keep doing the same things expecting the same results in this changed environment. WWDD? 'Dorothy' would assess the situation to determine the areas of change. 'Dorothy' would gather information from those more familiar with the territory. Rather than run away from change, Dorothy did, and we should, embrace the changes and learn to cope in the new situation.
What do I need to learn? It was a new day for Dorothy in the Land of Oz; finding her way to the Wizard required new ways of thinking and doing. What is required to adapt to our new situations? There is much to learn! Read/study/learn about new expectations and our new environments. Participate in professional development opportunities, learn more productive ways to cope with change and stress, expand our own comfort zones.
Where can I find partners to help me learn? Don't be a Lone Ranger - Dorothy knew the importance of talking to, and sharing with, others. Everyone needs a support network for encouragement and direction. WWDD? Dorothy gathered a support network of friends who helped and supported each other in tough times. A network is helpful in finding resources and essential when asking assistance. Creation of a NACADA Allied Group at your institution may be a first step; a campus-wide advisor group could be a beneficial avenue for support.
How can I promote my own health and growth? Reduce stress: seek balance, learn to say 'no' to unreasonable requests; get regular health checkups, eat correctly, and exercise. Change increases stress levels as it decreases health and personal growth. Schedule 'alone time' and take occasional breaks; advisors are givers - we also need to receive.
What would Dorothy do? She sought assistance and gathered companions who helped with her heart, mind and body. She utilized the resources and support group available to her. She gained courage from the Lion, emotional stability from the Tin Man, and wisdom from the Scarecrow. As Dorothy discovered, in her ruby slippers she had the wisdom and answers all along. We each have abilities deep within us. We should tap into our strength and bravely go down the yellow brick road toward growth through change.
Murray State University
Cite this article using APA style as: Kem,, L. (2007, March). Confronting change? What would Dorothy do? (WWDD?). Academic Advising Today, 30(1). Retrieved from [insert url here]